Friday, June 26, 2020

Uganda's Ik are not unbelievably selfish and mean

We often judge people, w/o considering that we don't know what they have gone thru and are going thru that affects their behaviour.

News Release 25-Jun-2020
Rutgers University

The Ik, a small ethnic group in Uganda, are not incredibly selfish and mean as portrayed in a 1972 book by a prominent anthropologist, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Instead, the Ik are quite cooperative and generous with one another, and their culture features many traits that encourage generosity, according to the study in the journal Evolutionary Human Sciences.


Why, then, did Turnbull observe so much selfishness among the Ik? Although Turnbull was aware that they experienced a severe famine while he was there, he failed to appreciate the impact starvation has on human behavior. Instead, he followed a common tendency among cultural anthropologists to attribute all human behavior to culture.

"One implication of Townsend's work is that we must always consider the possibility that factors other than culture, including but not limited to starvation, can also shape human behavior," said senior author Lee Cronk, a professor in the Department of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.


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